In East Africa, rates of maternal mortality are over 100 times higher than they are in Europe. And in Kenya, women regularly report mistreatment and verbal abuse by hospital staff. It is in this context that the social enterprise Jacaranda Health has emerged. The company is working to provide a new model of quality and affordable patient-centered care that can save lives and revolutionize a healthcare system. Through this strategic design project, Jacaranda wanted to understand how to advance their model, focusing in particular on ways to improve their quality of service and deepen the relationship with their patients.
Collaborating with Jacaranda, the design team used a human-centered design approach to engage past, current, and potential patients. They explored not only the patients’ decisions around pregnancy and birth but also the broader context of their lives. Their research led them to identify five areas of action, including customer care and financial decision-making. Within these areas, they framed insights, identified opportunities areas, and suggested concepts. From deepening the patient-caregiver bond through “My Personal Nurse” to creating a shuttle service to relieve the transportation crisis that often influences delivery choices, the concepts enable Jacaranda to improve upon its model by understanding how it might make its brand and services more distinctive, strengthen the birth experience of its patients, reduce barriers to access, and facilitate greater involvement of key members of a patient’s family.